Advice From a Dermatologist Nordic Skier.
The sun is by far and away the most common cause of both (1) skin cancer and (2) skin aging.
More than two million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the USA. Caught early, most skin cancers can be removed, leaving a cosmetically acceptable scar. In more advanced cases, valued anatomic parts such as noses and ears can be partially or completely lost. Unfortunately, ten thousand deaths occur yearly in the US from skin cancers.
Many Nordic skiers, blithely dedicate ourselves to going outside as much as we can whether skiing in the winter or running, biking, and hiking during snowless times. My recommendations to preserve skin health while frolicking out of doors:
- Exercise early in the morning (before 10) or later in the after- noon (after 4) when the sun is less damaging.
- Wear clothing that covers or shades the skin (e.g., a broad- brimmed hat is better than a visor).
- Apply a “broad-spectrum” (protects against UV-A and UV-B) reasonably thickly with an SPF of at least 30. If downhill skiing or hiking all day, consider re-applying at lunch
- Consult a dermatologist periodically, especially if you’re over 50, have a non-healing sore/bump, or have a changing or new brown or black spot.